Hedges as fences..

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by oz in SC, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone here use hedges as actual fences?

    I was wondering if anyone still does this as I remember in the UK hedgerows between the different fields.

    Also what sort of plants are used?

    Thanks oz.
     
  2. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    they used to a lot in PA here and yopu can still find a lot of old hedgerows here.
    they are grown from hawthorn trees (nasty!) or osage orange trees with other thorny bushes like spicebushes or crabapple.
    the best ones ive seen are grown with short trimmed hawthorn trees and a osage oraange trees.... even cows wont bulldoze thru them. hawthorn trees have nasty 2"long needle sharp thorns and osage orange trees are short wierd looking things , some people call monekey ball trees.
    from what I am told cows and livestock hate the smell of the fallen fruit when it goes all funky. must work there are miles of them here.
     

  3. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I checked into this, once. The good part is that any kind of small tree or trimmed tree will work, including wild plum trees.

    The BAD part is that it takes a fair amount of laor to keep up. If the tops of the trees are not kept cut, thin spots will develope down low and the critters will be able to work through the hedge. Yearly trimming of the tops is needed to keep the lower parts properly brushy.

    Of course, the book was Written in England, and England has different trees readily available. So, there MIGHT be better trees for it here.
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    You can plant wild lilac bushes close together for a fairly affective fence, though it could be high maintenance in trimming it.
    Sieberian Pear trees nave nasty thorns and branches growing all directions. When close and intertwined can be an effective fence and wind break.

    As for using these plants for fencing in livestock? I have no experience to know that.
     
  5. Thatch

    Thatch Well-Known Member

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    Blackthorn is one the best trees used in the UK (gives off a nice sloe harvest) but many others are used as well. Historically in the US osage (also called hedge apple) was a commonly used tree. The key is knowing how to lay a hedge. It does take work to get one laid and there is yearly upkeep but, the yearly upkeep isn't very difficult. There are countless benefits to having hedgerows in place of fences but there is no magical plant that can just be sown and forgotten and expect there to be a hedge capapble of keeping livestock in (or out)

    There are some online resources on hedge laying and a number of books. I'll see what I can dig up in my references. You might try searching some out in the meantime as well.

    J
     
  6. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I thought one of the reason the hedgerows worked was that they were "buttressed" by deep ditches on either side?
     
  7. Judiff

    Judiff Active Member

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    The ditches depend on the area of the UK, and are more for controlling run-off water from the fields, rather than stock control. In my part of the UK (Wales) there are no ditches.

    Last year we planted about 100 feet of hedgerow (blackthorn, hawthorn, dog rose, hazel and something else that I've forgotten!). We will let this grow unchecked for 3 to 5 years. Then the idea is to take the strong growing trunk, cut it almost through, and then lay it down horizontally, held in place with stakes. The lateral branches will then grow up and outwards, making a dense and prickly hedge that will (hopefully) be sheep-proof.

    The process can be repeated in later years if the hedge gets out of control or holes develop. One of our neighbours has just relaid about 200 yards of old hedge. It took about 3 weeks in all, but it looks fantastic.
     
  8. Thatch

    Thatch Well-Known Member

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  9. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    I would too as it is a 'natural' way of fencing.

    I imagine it has dropped out of favor due to the 'waste' of land of hedgerows...and I imagine the time needed to keep them up.

    Thanks for the info but this will be in the future,we have to have the land cleared first of all the scrub...
     
  10. rwood

    rwood Well-Known Member

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    Judiff said they use Hazel as a hedgerow.

    Do you mean Hazel as in Hazelnut? Because Ive heard that the Hazelnut tree can be used as a hedge and always thought I'd love a hedge that produced something. I actually have 4 Hazelneut tress (10 inches high) that I grew from the nuts I bought at the store last october (read 'fall' in the U.S.A). Makes the effort worthwhile. Hazelnut is a great flavouring in cakes, spreads and so forth. Is it also animal friendly?

    Should I pose this question in the plant section? Should I get another few hundred Hazelnut seedling started for my new hedge????

    Thanks
    RAF

    "I know how to use my signature now....but couldnt think of something inteligent to say....and as old Pa used to say...."
     
  11. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    I have a book called 'Country Life" by Paul Heiney, maybe you can get it at the library, it has a small, but useful section on hedglaying as a barrier.
     
  12. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well, you COULD take another look at the scrub. Perhaps some of those small trees could be used in your hedge.
     
  13. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Osage Orange worked for years.Deer and Squirrels love the seed in the fruit.

    big rockpile
     
  14. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Where I was envisioning(or daydreaming LOL) hedgerows was along some of the property lines.

    It would be so much nicer than a 'regular' fence.

    The reason we need to clear it is to figure out WHERE everything should go-it was cut over a few years back and there is little left except along the creeks.

    I loved the few times I was in the Uk and in the coutry there-we lived for a few months in Cornwall at an old farm and I got to wander around the countryside...
     
  15. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Roses have been used as hedgerows. One of the native American species, now used as hardy rootstock on grafted roses, produces masses of thorns and looks quite pretty when in flower (from a distance). I've also seen modern trailing roses used this way. You put up a support and let the roses take it from there. At one of our houses, a split rail fence was in the front, about eight feet long, and I just draped a rose branch over it (around once or twice) and it filled in. Roses will lean into the sun. If you are willing to put up support, any viney thing will work. Our museum, which is an old large house, has a split rail fence a few yards, than livestock fencing the rest of the way, covered in concord grape vines. Locals pick the fruit for wine and jelly. You could even put in poplars or other tall fast growing tree and string a support wire between them for the vines. Or, plant the fast growers with slow growers in between.

    I like the idea of roses and grapes myself, with a few native bushes. How about paw paws?
     
  16. Judiff

    Judiff Active Member

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    RAF,

    Yes, that's the one. It makes a really good dense hedge once laid. Well done for getting them to grow from nuts.
    All the hedging plants we put in are edible, either for humans or for the birds. I've just remembered the last of the five the we planted - elder, as in elderberries. The flowers make a great cordial, and the berries can be used for wine or chutney.
    When ours is laid, I plan to run honeysuckle through it as well, just for the flowers and scent. Not so useful, but it really lifts the spirits when you walk past!
     
  17. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Y'a'll,
    I live in Indiana & I'll give you all the Multi-flora rose sprouts you want to dig.
    They make a nice dense hedge. & I am mowing the blamed things out of my woods. I have a feeling they'd get overgrown in just a few years. Rankest growing things I ever ran across. This place was neglected for several years before we bought it. We have Multi-flora rose, 20 feet up into some of the
    trees. And wild thickets fifty feet across.
    I can't imagine anyone really planting it though, even if it IS Free.
     
  18. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I think I would watch planting Multi-flora Rose,it might be illegal now days because they are so invasive.

    big rockpile
     
  19. rwood

    rwood Well-Known Member

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    Judiff,

    Thanks for the hazelnut/elderberry idea. I will be buying more Hazel nuts this autumn to grow as seedlings. Of the 20 nuts I planted last year only those four germinated. Im not sure what the success trick is with these yet. I think they might need stratification over winter before sowing? But some came up? Maybe the seed rasing bed was to moist/too dry? I will figure this out eventually. I want a few hundred for some large scale hedging and do not want to buy them at $10 a plant.

    My pecan seedlings are my pride and joy. Got 40 of them, about 3 foot high now. Grew them from a bag of pecan nuts I bought from a stall on the side of the road. Also a few walnut trees (aparently not hard to grow). Remember, these are all strange plant to me as in australia we dont have more than 1 or 2 decidous tree species. WInter only gets to 0 degrees celsius or 30F?

    Thanks
    Raphael (Raf)